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NETFLIX RANKINGS: Telstra's speed comes at a price that isn't good value

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The Netflix Speed Index report for October has again crowned Telstra as fastest over rivals, including Optus, TPG and iiNet. But when you consider Telstra’s well-known price, you have to wonder whether the speed bump is worth the extra expense.

To Telstra’s credit, it has claimed first place in the Netflix speed polls every month this year since March. The Netflix Speed Index is a strange beast, in that it only measures the speed at which Netflix streams data to users, unlike other online speed tests that report actual line speeds. Still, it appears Telstra gets Netflix to our eyeballs about 5% faster than its competitors, suggesting more consistent streams of higher quality videos.

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Despite this lead in speed, a cursory glance at current NBN plans shows that the difference in price between a Telstra plan and cheaper alternatives is quite a bit more than 5%.

NBN Standard Plus Plans with Unlimited Data

As you can see, the price premium is pretty stark. NBN Standard Plus plans are currently the most popular choice for new NBN connections, and Telstra is charging 50% more than Exetel for basically the same service. This adds up to $360 per year.

Another speed measure worth following is the Average Evening Speeds published by each service provider based on testing they do themselves across their networks of customers. Evening Speeds are average speeds delivered by the provider when everyone uses the internet most: between 7pm and 11pm. Also known as Netflix o’clock.

Based on these figures, Telstra is a long way off the pace. Providers Aussie Broadband and MATE Communicate report an average of 90Mbps for customers on Premium 100Mbps plans. Foxtel, Dodo, Exetel and iiNet all claim to serve faster speeds than Telstra and Optus.

NBN Premium Plans with Unlimited Data

Telstra doesn’t advertise premium speeds, so the plan isn’t listed above, but you’ll add $30 per month on top of the Standard Plus plan rate. This brings the price of the cheapest Telstra NBN 100 option to $119 per month.

You might argue that Telstra provides a better service for the extra money. For example, you get a fancy Telstra Smart Modem that comes with a built-in backup 4G service to save you from any internet downtime. This in itself might be worth $360 to you.

But at the end of the day, when you sign up for an NBN plan you are signing up for an internet service delivered at a certain speed. The data shows that while Telstra is faster in certain tests, you can get something similar, or better, for much less.

Joe Hanlon is Publisher at WhistleOut, Australia’s phone and internet comparison website.

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